A new initiative starts this week, with the aim of getting people more involved with their local park.
It is widely recognised that parks and open spaces have helped us during lockdown. During the period 1–31 May, 60% of adults in England said that they had spent time outside in green and natural spaces in the previous two weeks. This is an increase in comparison to April (up from 49%). The Love Your Local Park project is a way to give something back.
With three main strands – to increase park visits, to attract donations, and for people to volunteer their time; the project asks people to consider the value that parks and open spaces provide to them.*
The first strand – visit, builds on the increased visitor figures and encourages people to find the open spaces nearby and think about how they might engage with them and enjoy them. It may a finding a bit of peace and tranquillity, taking a chance to discover nature, or maybe examining how parks can improve the environment.
The second strand is to make a donation. The public can donate to Nottingham’s parks via two different funds:
Green Group Fund – Donate to support local volunteers whose time and hard work make your parks and open spaces great! Your contribution to the Green Groups Fund will be available to groups who help keep parks and open spaces litter free, carry out maintenance, organise activities and make improvements for wildlife. Local groups will be able to apply for funding later this year.
Wildflower Meadow Fund – Donate to create more wildflower meadows in parks and open spaces across Nottingham! Wild flowers provide vital habitats and feeding areas for birds and insects, including our bees! They help with climate change through less mowing which reduces our carbon footprint. Meadows also store more carbon than short grass.
The last strand is to volunteer – Volunteers make a huge difference to Nottingham’s parks and open spaces. Helping out in the local park or open space is a chance to give something back to the green spaces that are so important in all our lives.
There are a number of volunteer opportunities to be involved with. Current projects include a conservation project at Quarry Holes (Known as Tilbury Park, NG8) and a scheme of restoration to park benches at Highfields Park, (NG7). Volunteers must be over 18 and must book as space via the Parks for Nottingham website. More information on how to support parks and open spaces visit can be found at:
Cllr Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said: “This project is a wonderful way for people to engage with our Green Flag award winning parks and open spaces, in the way that suits them best. We know people have really relied on our open spaces during lockdown – for exercise, for wellbeing and for their mental health.
“We want this to continue and for even more people to enjoy similar experiences. We really want people to think about parks and why they have become so important to them and to develop those interests.”
*Artwork for the project is included in the article
For more information on Nottingham’s Parks and Open Spaces, please visit: https://www.parksfornottingham.co.uk/
- Future Parks Accelerator Project – Nottingham is one of nine local authorities who are part of this national programme investigating new and innovative ways to manage and fund parks
- Natural England has published Monthly interim indicators for May 2020 for their People and Nature Survey for England – this might be interesting to include as evidence of the need for parks and open spaces
- Since the coronavirus restrictions began, 36% of adults reported spending more time outside
- The large majority of adults agreed that green and natural spaces should be good places for mental health and wellbeing (89%) and places that encourage physical health and exercise (83%)
- The large majority of adults (85%) agreed that ‘being in nature makes me very happy’ with 74% taking more time to notice and engage with everyday nature, such as listening to birdsong or noticing butterflies
- Forty one per cent of adults have reported that ‘nature and wildlife is more important than ever to my wellbeing’; 41% reported visiting local green and natural spaces has been even more important to their wellbeing
- Adults partaking in wildlife watching while in green and natural spaces increased in May (23%) compared to April (16%)